19:10 This wraps up our live coverage of the 2014 State Awards. Thanks for staying with us and make sure to check with Ahram Online for all the latest arts and culture news, events and updates.
18:55 End of voting and press conference.
18:53 And rumour has it that professor Mohammed Afifi will be appointed as the new head of the SCC. Speaking at the press conference, Asfour says that he hopes Afifi accepts the post, if what everyone is saying is true.
18:51 The name of the SCC's new secretary-general will be announced in a few days.
18:50 From now on the Supreme Council for Culture (SCC) will be the thinking mind of the ministry, he says.
18:49 Asfour says that the voting was very transparent and "very objective".
18:47 Egypt's newly-appointed Culture Minister Gaber Asfour holds a press conference to officially declare the winners of Egypt's 2014 State Awards.
18:30 Egyptian philosopher and thinker Hassan Hanafi loses the Nile Award in the Human Sciences to Ahmed Omar Hashim, preacher and professor of Islamic studies.
18:05 The Nile Prize in Literature is awarded to novelist and critic Edwar El-Kharrat
18:00 The Nile Prize in the Arts goes to the famous caricaturist Ahmed Toughan.
17:40 Three out of four of the Appreciation Awards in human science fields have gone to women: Awatef Abdel-Rahman, mass communications professor at Cairo University, Nabila Ibrahim, folklore professor, and Nagwa El-Fawal, also a professor. The fourth award went to Mahmoud Ismail, professor of economics and Islamic history at Cairo University.
17:20 The three Appreciation Awards in literature have gone to novelist Magdi Toubia, late Professor of Greek and Latin Studies at Cairo University, Ahmed Etman, and translator and writer Mohammed Abu Douma.
17:00 The three Appreciation Awards in the arts field were granted to TV director Magdi Abu Emira, actor Sanaa Shafi and arts critic Ezzeddine Naguib.
15:20 State Awards for Excellency are announced, the award which comprises seven prizes, awarded in three different categories.
Director Magdi Ahmed Ali clenched the only Excellency Award in Arts. The second award in the same field was withheld.
The Excellency Awards in Literature went to vernacular poet Samir Abdel-Baki, and renowned poet Mohammed Farid Abu Se'da.
And the Excellency Awards in Human Sciences were awarded to Moataz Abdallah, a Political Acience rofessor at Cairo University, monuments expert Mohammed El-Kahlawy, and Hassan Saadawi.
13:00 As a result of this decision to keep the voting process a secret, Ahram Online will be suspending its live updates until 6pm when the winners will be announced.
12:30 In a surprise decision, it has been announced that the voting session will be secret, for the first time since the 2011 revolution. This means that the session in which the awards are voted on will not be broadcast and the audio and video of the meeting will not be available to journalists.
The voting was secret under the rule of president Hosni Mubarak, but former culture minister Emad Abu-Ghazi opened deliberations in a move to encourage transparency, and the awards were aired in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Journalists at the SCC were shocked by the decision.
An SCC clerk, who stood by the door of the voting room, told Ahram Online that the livestream of the session has been halted and won't be back on until voting ends at 6pm. When questioned as to why the sessions were no longer being aired as they had been after the revolution, she commented: "the revolution has ended."
12:00 Minister of Culture Gaber Asfour headed the vote meeting instead of Said Tawfik, the head of the Supreme Council for Culture (SCC).
Tawfik's resignation jeopardises the meeting and led to some chaos as the meeting was about to start.
He was accused of interfering in the nomination process, which precedes the final voting which is being held today.
Legally the meeting should be headed by the SCC secretary-general, or the Minister of Culture.
Tawfik left the meeting and headed to his office at the first floor of the building after he announced his resignation.
11:00 The day begins with a surprise. Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Culture Said Tawfik announced his resignation from his post right before the SCC meeting to vote on Egypt's highest State Awards in the fields of literature, arts and human sciences.
Said stated that he had recieved direct messages to the effect that he is not welcome in his post.
10:00 Ahram Online is providing live coverage of the announcement of the 51st edition of Egypt's State Awards in the fields of art, literature and social science.
Members of Egypt's Supreme Council for Culture (SCC) are meeting on Monday, 23 June at 11am to vote on the state awards. The meeting should be headed by Egypt's Culture Minister Gaber Asfour – who turned down a nomination for a Nile Award last week due to recently being appointed to his new governmental post.
The voting process is also headed by the SCC's Secretary-General Said Tawfik.
Nominees for the prestigious State Awards are voted on by the SCC's 64 members, half of whom are appointed due to their cultural contributions as writers, intellectuals or artists, including writers Bahaa Taher and Gamal El-Ghitany. The other half are appointed due to their positions as heads of Egyptian cultural institutions, along with the ministers of education and information and university presidents.
The SCC receives nominations for the State Awards from cultural institutions several months before the meeting, yet the system has been criticised by considerable intellectuals who say it allows the state to promote its own nominees.
The prizes are granted in the fields of social science, the arts and literature and are distributed across four divisions: the Encouragement Award, the Excellency Award, the Appreciation Award and the Nile Award – the highest honour.
Last year's Nile Award in the arts was awarded to Mahfouz Abdel-Rahman, acclaimed author and writer for film and television. The Nile Award for literature went to renowned poet Ahmed Abdel-Moati Hegazi and in social sciences went to Mostafa El-Abaadi, professor of archaeology and Greco-Roman studies at the University of Alexandria.
52 prizes worth LE7 million total (around $1 million), divided into four sections:
32 Encouragement Awards of LE50,000
7 Excellency Awards of LE100,000, plus a silver medal
10 Appreciation Awards of LE200,000, plus a golden medal
3 Nile Awards of LE400,000, plus a golden medal
The 32 Encouragement Awards are divided as follows: eight for the arts, eight for literature, eight in social sciences and eight for law and economic research.
Of the seven Excellency Awards, two are for the arts, two for literature and three for social sciences. Political analyst Ammar Ali Hassan and economy expert Ahmed El-Naggar were among the winners of the prize last year
The vote also includes 10 Appreciation Awards: three for the arts, three for literature and four for social sciences. This award was granted for the first time in 1999. Novelists Khairy Shalaby, Gamal El-Ghitani, poet Mohammed Afifi Mattar and critic Gaber Asfour are among past winners.
Finally, the three Nile Awards are divided as follows: one for the arts, one for literature and one for social sciences. The Nile Award was originally named the Mubarak Award but was changed in the aftermath of 25 January 2011 revolution that ousted president Hosni Mubarak from power.
Poet Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi, writers Bahaa Taher, Ibrahim Aslan and Waheed Hamed, and cinema director Youssef Chahine are the most prominent figures to date who have won the Nile Award.
The State Awards were launched in 1958 and have only been cancelled once, in 1967, during the Six Days War between Egypt and Israel.